Three years ago, I shared one of the most extraordinary stories I have ever written here on the blog.
It was the story of Tan, a H’mong boy who had survived a childhood that few of us could imagine.
At the age of seven, Tan left his home in the remote mountains of northern Vietnam to escape unbearable violence.
He walked into the jungle alone and kept walking until he reached safety two weeks later.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Tan’s troubles. A few years later he found himself in need of escape once more. So again he set out on foot – again, for weeks completely alone.
I called that story The Boy Who Walked, and you can read it here. His determination to survive in the face of dreadful neglect and violence is inspiring.
But life is a long story and now Tan has started a whole new chapter.
He’s no longer just the boy who walked. Today he is the boy who rides.
Since I shared Tan’s story, he has gone on to make a new life for himself. He’s a young man now, living independently and working as a chef. He loves his job: not only because of his passion for cooking, but more importantly for what he calls the “warm environment” of his workplace.
And after work, Tan has another passion that gives him a profound satisfaction: travel.
Tan saves his salary carefully so that out of working hours he can glide through the city streets and out into the countryside on his most prized possession.
It isn’t fear or hunger that drives him now. He is compelled by a desire to explore and discover.
Tan has taken control of his own life. The miles that he covers and the places he vists are for joy rather than survival.
He may still carry the scars of his childhood: he has never found his family or the village where he was born. But those scars don’t hold him back from dreaming of the future.
Tan talks about saving to buy a home of his own one day. He is proud of what he has done with his life and talks openly about the value he places on his relationship with all of us at Blue Dragon.
He’s an incredible person who has gone beyond mere survival to find a passion for life. His courage and perseverance are exceptional – and I am sure will carry him a long way.
But I also know that this is far from the end of Tan’s story. Another chapter surely awaits him… and I cannot imagine what his next adventure will be.